Channel technologies, IT distribution

Avnet Bets Big on IoT, Digital Transformation

Maureen O’Leary
Maureen O'Leary
Ed Morales
Colin Blair

Avnet isn't resting on its recent cloud momentum. The distributor is doubling down on a digital business transformation strategy, while also working more closely with IBM and other vendors on government engagements and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Among the recent moves:

  • Former Avnet Cloud leader Tim FitzGerald is now VP, digital transformation at Avnet Technology Solutions.
  • Eric Williams recently shifted to the newly created role of VP, Internet of Things.
  • Avnet has announced an expanded IBM IoT relationship in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
  • And Avnet Government Solutions has launched new cloud-based security offerings with IBM.

ChannelE2E and Avnet recently discussed the distributor's overall digital, cloud and IoT strategies during IBM Worldwide Partner Leadership Conference 2016 (WPLC16) in Orlando, Fla. Among the pundits at the table:

  • Colin Blair, VP, global strategic planning, Avnet Technology Solutions.
  • Ed Morales, director of software, IBM Solutions, Avnet Technology Solutions.
  • Maureen O'Leary, director of communications, Avnet Technology Solutions.

Avnet's Evolution

The trio described how Avnet Technology Solutions has evolved since Patrick Zammit was promoted to global president in January 2015. Blair essentially is Zammit's chief of staff -- and has helped the distributor to push even harder into growth markets like cloud, mobile, social and big data/analytics.

While Avnet participated in growth markets throughout 2015, this year will be about scaling that growth. Moreover, Avnet wants to help partners to manage and accelerate the "consumption of virtual things" -- especially as customers seek to move workloads between on-premises systems and the cloud.

"If you can manage and secure a workload -- regardless of where it may reside -- that's the true channel opportunity," says Blair.

Living on the Edge

Increasingly, that means partners need to extend from cloud solutions out to the network edge, where a new generation of sensors and smart ecosystems -- concert venues, smart stadiums, manufacturing floors, etc. -- are emerging, adds Morales. Instead of just managing and monitoring those endpoints, partners must also help customers to manage the way they gather, store, safeguard and monetize data from all those sensors, Morals notes.

Many sectors, the Avnet team says, are "sleeping giants" for IoT opportunities. The reason: You can put sensors on so many different things. Plus, the power of compute is now everywhere. Similar to earlier IT waves, Avnet will focus on being an ecosystem provider that aggregates and brokers IoT solutions to its partners.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.